Gamification and Classroom teaching – no more GPAs Continued

In our previous post we talked about two very crucial elements of Gamification in classroom teaching;

Clarify the learning outcomes!

Select a Big Idea!

Schools today face major problems around student motivation and engagement. Gamification, or the
incorporation of game elements into non-game settings, provides an opportunity to help schools solve these
difficult problems; and this is our objective…

The Fun Way To Engage

The Fun Way To Engage

Today we will talk about two aspects which involves ‘Creating the storyboard’, and Designing the learning activities’

How we can do this?

Schools already have several game-like elements in place. Students get points for completing the assignments. These points translate to “badges” or shall we say as grades. Students are rewarded for desired behaviors and punished for undesirable behaviors using this common currency as a reward system. If they perform well, students “level up” at the end of every academic year. If we do have the gamification already in schools; why is that this game like element doesn’t translate in to engagement?



The primary reason for the disengagement from school to happen is; at Social and Emotional levels…few examples of this would be:

Read an optional library book on the topic being taught in class? Receive “Reading” points. Get perfect attendance and complete all homework assignments on time for a month? Earn an “On Target“ badge.

In order for the students to understand the gamification and enjoy this…the game has to have a story around this, where you start with a challenge; do some learning activities to accomplish this challenge…and then you end this with a show – off; show off in this case will eventually be a reward for the student.

Let’s relate this with our Angry Birds game;

Angry Birds asks players to knock down towers by launching birds out of a slingshot. Players must experiment with the game to figure out the physical properties of different tower materials, the ballistics of the slingshot, and the structural weaknesses of each tower. They launch birds, observe the results, plan their next moves, and execute those plans. In short, players’ desire to beat each level makes them small-scale experimental physicists.

This is exactly the way a game should be planned with a challenge and an opportunity to learn!

There is an emotional transformation that is associated with every game; and so with the storyboard formation in our game theory. While designing the game we need to make sure that we are adding points where ever user can ‘Fail Safely’.

Consider this example of emotional transformation in a game which is around the issue of failure. Because games involve repeated experimentation, they also involve repeated failure. In fact, for many games, the only way to learn how to play the game is to fail at it repeatedly, learning something new every time you fail.

Also pay attention to what happens at the vantage point; since there is always a tendency to react differently when you are at the extreme; be it a failure or a success. This can create a transformation in student behavior too. A shy student may actually learn to lead a team of fighters in the game…which in turn makes her get rid of stage fear; speech fear and many such things.

Now let’s talk about another aspect of our discussion which is around designing the

What do we mean by an ‘Instruction’?

Instruction is a ‘Set of events’ which are external to the learner, and are designed to support the internal purpose of learning.

Examples of learning activities can be: Make Connections, anything which involves deep thinking, and attention grabbing activities…etc.

Learning Activities

Learning Activities

Majority of the time you would see learning to happen during the instructional period; teachers and student and their team mates share the information on what they did, how did they do it; what instruction were helpful for them to achieve a challenge.

Teaching kids was never an easy task, and it will never be; however what we can always try is to make it more fun for them; make it more interactive for them. There are reasons why student fail; the first one being they are not getting engaged with what they are taught! This should be changed! Especially for a country like India, where there is a massive gap between education standards; and the rate at which students join and then leave the school midway…Gamification can be a real boon for a country like ours!



All right then tomorrow we’ll be talking more on how to build teams, and the dynamics of team…till then ‘Happy Learning’… 🙂

Gamification and Classroom teaching – no more GPAs

What happens when you combine game-based learning and gamification process together for your classroom!

What are we talking about…we’re talking about making ‘Learning’ a fun!! And how do we do it?

How many of you have played ‘Angry Birds’…all of you :); have you ever thought of using this awesome game as a learning tool; how about Newton’s Law? Have a look at the image below; and you will immediately say..Oh! Wow!

Angry Birds and the science...

Angry Birds and the science…

Let’s pause and realize, how much we as adults actually come across ‘Gamification’ in daily routine!

In fact, your life is itself “gamified”—loosely, through informal social challenges- gaining access to “Titanium” or “Life-time free” credit cards, collecting frequent flyer miles, getting free tickets of your favorite movies. Even sticking a push-pin [Check-ins] into the map of every traveling destination you’ve ever visited is a form of “gamification.”

I have always been a supporter of making learning ‘Easier’ for kids, and assuring that ‘GPA’ or Grade Point Average’ should not be a criteria for judging the ‘Intelligence’ of kids or students for that matter. Why?

Grades quantify or attempt to quantify the understanding and/or performance in hopes of hiding the complexity of the learning process. Just think about the complexity different learners go through!

Individuals have different teachers, different assignments, completed in lieu of different learning styles, with the overwhelming influence of incredibly different personal lives— Now how can a grade system actually be ‘Universal’?

Gamification can change this! Let’s see how!

Rather than providing a handful of slots for the “star performers” to occupy, within gamification lies the ability to recognize the deeply personalized nature of learning. Not all students want trophies or gold medals, or to be patted on the head for “studying hard.” Rather, learners [There is a reason why I’m talking about learners; gone are the days when you only wanted to be recognized for being Studious’]  want—and need—recognition of their unique nature: their past experience, their interests, their cognitive and creative gifts, and the critical interdependence with those around them.

With gamification we can create which I call ‘Personalized Learning’

Let’s take a look at step by step approach which if implemented in schools / colleges, bound to help learning process! We will be talking about 6 step processes…and make it a three part series; here are the first two steps…


Clarify the learning outcomes!

First thing first; you need to clarify the learning outcomes…what is that a student is going to get from the learning process? What is there in it for her/him to improve upon?

Primarily, an educational objective can be divided in to three sections: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor; you can call these as [Knowing-Head | Feeling-Heart | Doing-Hands].

Larning Objectives

Learning Objectives

Now once you have master these objectives you should be able to create a process for students to study with! For more information refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy

The best way to do this; is to use Verbs; these are the verbs which expresses Learning Outcomes; for example one of the learning outcome can be:

You need to arrange alphabets to recognize a sketch [The bold are verbs], this is a perfect way of providing a clear outcome of what you really want your students to come up with!

Once this is done, you need to make these outcome measurable;

After analyzing the sketch, we will merge various sketches to envision a story.

This is another kind of example where after defining the objective, you’re providing it a measure. In this case measure is a ‘Story’!

Step2: Select a Big Idea!

You need to ask yourself; what idea you should impart in your student’s mind which will carry the course through to the end..this idea can be a challenge…or can be a theme…and in order to accomplish this idea; student should master all the learning outcomes!

Big Idea

Big Idea

Example: An idea can be; your class is working towards saving the ‘Rainforest’

Now pause here, and try and relate to what I mentioned in the previous step!

  • You have defined learning outcomes…which in our case was a ‘Story’ made out of various characters…[sketches]
  • And you also have an idea too…which is our case is saving the rainforest…

Try and think from a student perspective, you will visualize the excitement, and the fun kids are going to have their studies…and this all can be achieved with just a thoughtful execution of gamification…

For the next series; we’ll be talking about how do we ‘Create Storyboard’, design the learning activities, build teams, and apply the dynamics of game…till then Happy Gaming… 🙂

References: Verbs that express learning